Home Sports Kerala and Bengal Start Favourites Again as Odisha Hosts 76th Santosh Trophy

Kerala and Bengal Start Favourites Again as Odisha Hosts 76th Santosh Trophy

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Kerala and Bengal Start Favourites Again as Odisha Hosts 76th Santosh Trophy

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The attract of the Santosh Trophy is simple, enduring over time — protest, partition, and pandemic mere hurdles surmounted by the burden of a pan-India match that hones younger expertise, produces glowing unknowns and offers stalwarts an opportunity to cement legacies. The twelve groups which have certified for the ultimate spherical of the 76th Santosh Trophy will hope to etch their very own names on a trophy synonymous with the perfect of Indian Football.

The group stage of the match was performed throughout six totally different venues — Assam, Delhi, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha and Kerala — and contested by 36 totally different groups. Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Odisha, Punjab, Bengal, Meghalaya, Delhi and Manipur certified from the group phases. They might be joined by Railways and Services within the closing spherical of the match to kick off in Bhubaneswar on February 10, 2023. The semi finals, third place play off and the ultimate might be performed in Saudi Arabia.

Can Kerala Defend Title?

Defending champions Kerala go into the ultimate spherical as, arguably, the favourites. The numbers bear testomony to this. Not solely have they received two of the final three editions — and seven titles total — however they’ve additionally been supremely dominant within the group phases too, scoring essentially the most objectives (24) in 5 video games at a mind-boggling charge of 4.eight objectives per sport. Playing at house, they conceded a mere two objectives within the group phases to qualify for the ultimate spherical.

Bengal’s Challenge

Their greatest problem will come from Bengal, who maintain the file for essentially the most titles within the match’s historical past (32). Bengal’s final win got here within the 2016-17 version, however the staff has made three of the final 4 finals, shedding each instances to Kerala — as soon as at house in Kolkata and the second in Malappuram. Slotted in Group B, they won’t meet their nemesis until the knockout phases, if all goes to plan.

And there isn’t any cause it is not going to. If Kerala are the freescorers, Bengal have a watertight defence, one which has conceded only one purpose by the group stage, having saved 4 clear sheets from 5 video games. They haven’t been miserly in entrance of purpose both, scoring 17 instances, the joint third most of any staff that has certified for the ultimate rounds.

Dark Horses

Besides the 2 long-term favourites and nemesis, Punjab, Maharashtra and Karnataka will hope to experience on the darkish horses tag to make the lower for the knockouts. Delhi, who’ve certified for the ultimate rounds after lacking out on the final two events haven’t received the match since 1942. They go in as underdogs but when their efficiency within the group phases is any indicator, nobody will take them calmly.

A historically robust Services staff will hope to reach on the closing rounds and do what they do — silently make it to the ultimate spherical, effectively and with out a lot fuss. Services have received 5 of the final ten editions of the match and might be eager to erase the reminiscence of a disappointing efficiency final day out.

Bengal striker Narohari Shrestha, Maharashtra’s Arif Sheikh and Kerala’s Nijo Gilbert lead the goalscoring charts with six objectives every. While none may come near breaking Inder Singh’s unattainable feat of 23 objectives, they may hope to etch their names alongside him as the winner of the golden boot for the match.

The match returns to Odisha for the primary time in over a decade, and Odisha might be eager to benefit from it. The state has by no means received the match and even made the semi-finals of their historical past. Perhaps they are going to be 76th-time fortunate.

Groups for the ultimate spherical of the Santosh Trophy

GROUP A: Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Odisha, Punjab

GROUP B: Bengal, Meghalaya, Delhi, Services, Railways, Manipur

FIXTURES

February 10:

Goa vs Kerala

Maharashtra vs Odisha

Punjab vs Karnataka

February 11:

Delhi vs Bengal

Manipur vs Railways

Meghalaya vs Services

February 12:

Kerala vs Karnataka

Punjab vs Maharashtra

Goa vs Odisha

February 13:

Bengal vs Services

Meghalaya vs Manipur

Delhi vs Railways

February 14:

Karnataka vs Goa

Odisha vs Punjab

Kerala vs Maharashtra

February 15:

Services vs Delhi

Railways vs Meghalaya

Bengal vs Manipur

February 17:

Maharashtra vs Karnataka

Odisha vs Kerala

Punjab vs Goa

February 18:

Manipur vs Services

Railways vs Bengal

Meghalaya vs Delhi

February 19: Karnataka vs Odisha

Goa vs Maharashtra

Kerala vs Punjab

February 20:

Services vs Railways

Delhi vs Manipur

Bengal vs Meghalaya

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